Secret Formulas Gojek Uses to Dominate the Food Delivery Industry

Formulas Gojek Uses to Dominate Food Delivery Industry

Gojek is undoubtedly the largest and most successful food delivery platform in Southeast Asia. Founded in 2010 in Indonesia, Gojek started as a call-center-based motorcycle ride-hailing service. Within a few short years, it expanded into food delivery, payments, and various on-demand services to become a true “Super App”.

Today, Gojek operates in over 50 cities across Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines. On any given day, it fulfills millions of delivery orders through its network of over 2 million driver-partners. Gojek has raised over $4 billion from prominent investors and achieved a valuation of over $10 billion, cementing its position as Southeast Asia’s most valuable startup.

But how exactly has Gojek managed to dominate the food delivery landscape in such a short period against strong competitors? In this article, we uncover the 13 secret formulas and strategies Gojek employs to continuously gain more users, orders, and market share across Southeast Asia.

Formula 1: Aggressive Expansion into New Cities

Right from the early days, Gojek followed an aggressive city expansion strategy. Within the first 2 years of operations in Indonesia, it expanded beyond Jakarta to over 25 other major cities. This helped gain a first-mover advantage and lock-in users in new regions.

Expanding to new cities is challenging due to a lack of brand recognition, and a shortage of drivers and merchants initially. However, Gojek overcame these challenges through heavy subsidies and incentives. It provided driver-partners with financial assistance to purchase motorbikes as well as guaranteed daily incomes. Gojek also formed local operations teams to rapidly onboard restaurants and cloud kitchen partners in each new city.

The strategy paid off as Gojek was able to quickly scale operations and outpace competitors entering later. It then replicated this model while expanding overseas to Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand, and the Philippines in subsequent years. Rapid cross-border growth has been a crucial formula propelling Gojek far ahead of regional rivals.

Formula 2: Heavy Investments and Subsidization

Right from the start, Gojek raised large sums from prominent investors like Goldman Sachs, Google, and others. A significant portion of these funds have been plowed back into subsidizing all sides of its platform – drivers, merchants, and customers.

Gojek spends over $150 million per month on driver incentives alone to retain its massive driver base which fulfills millions of orders daily. It also provides big cash incentives and fee waivers for onboarding new merchants. On the customer side, Gojek consistently runs promotional campaigns like waived delivery fees, grocery discounts, and cashback offers.

While competitors operate on thin margins, Gojek’s strategy entails sacrificing near-term profits for rapid growth through subsidization. This approach has hugely expanded its network effects by attracting more users and orders exponentially over the years. The scale achieved in turn attracts more investment to continue the cycle, blocking others from gaining meaningful market share.

Formula 3: Motorbike-based Fulfillment Model

While food delivery globally relies majorly on cars, Gojek focused on dispatching orders through motorcycles right from the start. This was a strategic decision keeping in mind the congested streets in Southeast Asian cities that make motorcycles highly suitable.

Motorbikes can maneuver through traffic jams much faster than cars, enabling Gojek to provide industry-leading delivery times averaging 30 minutes. This became a unique selling point that customers rapidly embraced. The small stature of motorcycles also allows riders to access narrow lanes throughout city areas where four-wheelers cannot reach.

On the supply side, motorcycles require lower investments, maintenance costs, and fuel efficiency compared to cars. This helped Gojek recruit a massive rider base willing to work flexibly. Over time, the company augmented the capabilities of riders by introducing delivery boxes, phone holders, and other tools to optimize order fulfillment cycles. Today, motorcycles remain the backbone of Gojek’s operations across every city. Visit ZipprrĀ Gojek Clone App Script.

Formula 4: Low Delivery Fees and Order Minimums

Right from the beginning, Gojek undercut competitors by keeping delivery fees very low – usually between $1-3 depending on distance. Unlike others requiring minimum order values of $10-15, Gojek also had no lower limit or only a $3-5 minimum.

This hugely expanded the addressable market for Gojek by making food delivery affordable for individuals as well as low-income families. Customers found tremendous value compared to alternatives, rapidly embracing the platform even for standalone snack orders. The ease of ordering anything from anywhere without hassles drove massive frequency.

On the margins front, Gojek was able to maintain favorable unit economics even at low fees through the following advantages – large order volumes absorbing fixed costs, motorbike deliveries being more efficient than cars, optimized routes minimizing distances and idle time through proprietary algorithms. This allowed subsidizing delivery fees to gain unparalleled scale.

Formula 5: Wide Selection of Restaurants and Cloud Kitchens

From day one, Gojek focused on signing up the widest possible variety of restaurants directly onto its platform beyond the big chains. This included thousands of small, independent neighborhood eateries selling local specialties. It also aggressively pushed restaurants without delivery capability to set up takeaway counters.

Concurrently, Gojek invested in dozens of cloud or ghost kitchens across cities. These professional facilities allowed hundreds of new food brands and concepts to be launched just for delivery. The variety introduced through unique menus and cuisines became a core differentiator against competitors offering predictable multinational chains.

Partnering with many restaurants and cloud kitchens also made it easy for Gojek to continuously refresh its listings, keeping the platform exciting through limited-time offerings, festival specials, and more. This fueled discovery, repeat orders, and higher frequencies among its expanding customer base.

Formula 6: Loyalty Programs and Rewards

Beyond delivering food, Gojek ensured users were continuously engaged with rewards through its GoPay digital wallet app. Customers earned ‘GoPoints’ with every order and payment that could be redeemed for order vouchers, merchandise, and other prizes.

Higher tiers within the loyalty program unlocked exclusive perks and bonuses. Gojek also introduced gamified challenges prompting incremental spending through goals like making a certain number of transactions within a week. Specific occasions saw lucrative promotions – get double points during festivals or one-time cashback offers.

Such reward programs kept the virtuous cycle of usage and spending going. Customers got addicted to earning and redeeming points and driving repeat orders. Merchants also saw more traffic and sales as users browsed available rewards. Today, loyalty has become a key retention tool, cementing users to the platform in the long run.

Formula 7: Grab-and-go Option for Fast Pickup Orders

In late 2018, Gojek introduced ‘grab-and-go’, allowing customers to pick up orders from nearby restaurants instead of opting for delivery. This created a new casual use case for last-minute hunger pangs or corporate lunch crowds.

The simplicity and speed of walk-in pickups became very appealing. Customers can select the option, pay in advance, and then grab the ready order from the merchant within 5-10 minutes. It complemented deliveries by addressing different missions around instant gratification versus waiting at home.

Today, grab-and-go has become a major segment of Gojek’s order volumes. Merchants also appreciate the incremental walk-in sales and visibility it brings. The additional touchpoint strengthened Gojek’s bond with users and merchants alike through an effortless convenience play.

Formula 8: Call-Center-based Customer Support

Right from its inception as a call-based service, Gojek ensured 24/7 phone support for any issues faced by users, drivers, or merchants. Customers calling or messaging the care number received prompt assistance be it order status updates, payment errors, or other glitches.

While most others relied on flaky digital support, Gojek prioritized a personal touch through its large offshore call center staff. Being able to actively resolve frustrations over a call established high trust – a valued differentiator in an industry prone to delays and mistakes. It affirmed Gojek’s commitment and care for its ecosystem.

Today, the customer support function remains a core strength. While complaints are minimal due to the platform’s efficiency, being able to address them instantly through multiple channels prevents churn. It complements the rapidly growing digital channels through consistency in building goodwill and retention.

Formula 9: Data Analytics-Powered Recommendations

Gojek leveraged the immense volume of user behavior, order history, address, and other data flowing through its platform to implement advanced personalization. Sophisticated algorithms analyzed each customer’s past purchases and locations and tailored hyper-relevant options.

For example, suggesting new dishes from frequently ordered restaurants based on past likings. Or highlighting trending items others also added to the cart while browsing. Custom personalized banners promoted handpicked new restaurants likely to appeal based on collaborative filters.

Leveraging analytics as an engine for discovery kept users hooked through a tailored experience. It constantly introduced them to optimal new options, increasing both frequencies and average order values. Personalization has become a core complexity in Gojek’s sustaining competitive differentiation.

Formula 10: Merchant Order Management Platform

Gojek launched a dedicated merchant partner platform and app providing restaurants with end-to-end order visibility, fulfillment, and analytics capabilities. Eateries could log in to the “GoRestaurant” dashboard to manage all aspects of their partnership with Gojek.

The platform allowed merchants to instantly accept or decline incoming delivery orders based on their current capacity and menu availability. This level of control and visibility was a breakthrough for restaurants used to being at the mercy of multiple third-party platforms.

Once an order was accepted, the dashboard provided real-time prep status updates to the kitchen staff. It also allowed merchants to directly communicate with Gojek’s dispatcher if they needed more time or had any other issues. This streamlined communication and resolved issues faster.

GoRestaurant also gave full tracking of active and historical orders. Merchants could view details of every single order from their restaurant through Gojek – right from itemization to payment status. This order history was invaluable for reconciliations, feedback, and analytics.

Speaking of analytics, the platform unveiled powerful insights through automated reports. Merchants could identify their top-selling dishes and traffic patterns over days/months. They also got notifications about pending deliveries, new nearby customer addresses, and other sales opportunities.

Gojek regularly updated the merchant app with new capabilities. Features like custom order instructions, flexible packaging options, and specialized menus for delivery optimized the experience. Partners could promote exclusive dishes, manage staff schedules, and get direct support too.

By empowering merchants digitally on its platform, Gojek ensured happy, efficient merchant partners. This translated to better order fulfillment, higher sales volumes, and sustainable win-win partnerships driving both sides of its growing network.

Formula 11: Driver Incentives and Benefits

In addition to providing driver-partners with earnings opportunities through flexible work, Gojek ensured their welfare through various incentives and protections. This included medical insurance covering accident treatment as well as compensation in case of disabilities on duty. Driver communities across social platforms praised these comprehensive safety nets rare in the gig economy.

Gojek also held regular driver engagement programs recognizing top performers. Townhalls gathered feedback while training sessions upgraded skills. Going beyond monetary motivations reinforced driver loyalty and retention crucial for delivering consistent service. Staff were deployed across cities assisting drivers with paper/digital work, vehicle maintenance, and local information.

Such holistic driver-centric strategies attracted more riders willing to brave unpredictable weather and traffic. The abundance of available drivers in turn ensured 98% order success despite unpredictable demand surges. Gojek’s driver-first approach became a pillar of its sustainability gaining deep trust among communities.

Formula 12: Strategic Acquisitions and Partnerships

From 2018, Gojek grew aggressively through targeted acquisitions and partnerships. It acquired fintech companies like Moka and paid them to supercharge digital wallet services. Riding on this momentum, Gojek began absorbing regional rivals across Indonesia, Vietnam, and the Philippines through cash and stock deals.

Key acquisitions included food delivery platforms like Burger King Thailand and Vietnam’s Foodpanda, adding their large merchant bases. Gojek also gained hyperlocal delivery capabilities through Austin-based Pandenominium’s suite of last-mile logistics solutions. The deals expanded Gojek’s geographical presence and service offerings multifold.

Concurrently, strategic partnerships were inked. An alliance with payments major DANA strengthened wallet services in Indonesia. Gojek worked with telecom operators like Singtel to bundle packages attracting the masses. Linking with e-commerce majors expanded new logistics use cases.

Through targeted acquisitions and mutually beneficial partnerships, Gojek was able to rapidly scale into a regional ‘Super App’ converting more users to its growing ecosystem at unmatched velocities. Sophisticated M&A today remains core to Gojek outmuscling others.

Formula 13: Continuous Product Innovation

From the start, Gojek maintained its edges through a fast pace of new feature launches keeping the platform fresh and exciting. Early additions included hyperlocal services like cleaning, massage, laundry, and more. Mass popularity is unlocked through gamified incentive campaigns.

Today, major innovations are unveiled quarterly. Examples include a consumer goods marketplace within the app, meal plans for dieting users, voice ordering capabilities, and integration with smart home services. Gojek also beta tests speculative futuristic services like delivery drones and self-driving pods to identify potentials.

Constant tweaks are made based on deep customer research. Features like order customizations, flexible delivery slots, and pay-at-counter selections enhance experiences. Merchants get new tools to grow their digital presence virally through mini-apps and storefronts. Product innovation serves as the engine ensuring Gojek stays unmatched in problem-solving abilities.


Through a perfect blend of strategic growth hacking and innovation, Gojek has succeeded in dominating Southeast Asia’s food delivery landscape far ahead of regional and global giants. While competitors focused on margins, its unflinching subsidization built an impenetrable network advantage through scale.

Aggressive city and cross-border expansions, strategic acquisitions, and prudent use of funding accelerated this scale manifold. But core to its dominance has been technology-led strategies empowering driver-partners and enhancing all user experiences on an evolving platform.

Gojek’s 13 decades-tested secret formulas unlocking network effects, data-driven personalization, and new missions will keep propelling its multibillion-dollar valued Super App to greater heights across services in Southeast Asia in the coming years. Its playbook sets the precedent for building sustainable on-demand platforms globally.

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